NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Better Homes is a very big magazine, but we can't help but notice it hasn't stopped at the print edition. This year it expanded its Better Homes and Gardens line of licensed products at Walmart, for example, to around 1,000 from 500 at the start.
In December 2008, Better Homes teamed up with House Party to create 1,000 Holiday Cookie Swap Parties around the country. It says 19,000 people applied to be one of 1,000 hosts, 13,000 people attended the events and 2,800 photos were uploaded to HouseParty.com/CookieSwap.
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The brand then spent the summer working with "Live with Regis and Kelly" on the show's "Ultimate Hometown Grill Off," with promotions in the magazine, online and on-air. Last August it introduced BHGLifeInPhotos.com, a photo service for families.
Better, its nationally syndicated TV show, now available in more than 50 markets, is also available at Better.tv. Its episodes in 2009, including its 500th show, included brand integration programs for marketers such as State Farm, Procter & Gamble and Sears Kenmore.
"The biggest difference between Better Homes and Gardens and almost every other magazine brand is that Better Homes really is a brand that lives in many different ways," said Andy Sareyan, chief brand officer at Meredith's National Media Group and president of Better Homes and Gardens.
And BH&G, the core magazine, got a renovation of its own earlier this year, something Meredith proudly points to as investment amid so much recessionary retrenchment.
Its ad pages fell! But that doesn't really need the exclamation point: declines arrived for most magazines, of course. The good news for Better Homes and Gardens: They only slipped 2.15% through the October issue, according to the Media Industry Newsletter.
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Where newsstand collapsed by 36%, Better Homes points out that the last couple of reporting periods experienced big bumps because of a pilot program. That program's economics didn't work out, so it's discontinued, returning Better Homes to a more historically typical level over the first half. Better Homes maintained subscriptions with a 1.5% increase, so the whole paid and verified average still topped 7.6 million, just 0.2% below the first half of 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.